Farm Newsletter July 10, 2017


Farm Newsletter July 10, 2017

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts


Bulk Produce is Available Again

— See Nuts and Bolts.


Now that summer feels like it’s finally arrived, and the plants have roots and a good supply of water (from 1.4″ 10 days ago and now from irrigation), all the vines, stems, flowers and fruits are just hopping and popping like there’s no tomorrow.  Which, in a broad view of time, “tomorrow” is very short-lived for an annual plant — make seed now or die trying when winter comes.  (Did we just say that word?)  It’s been glorious weather for people, and the plants agree.  So far the insect pressure is next to nothing, area-wide, and the disease pressure is….. less than last year, at least.  (More on that below re cabbage and broccoli.)

But the weeds, oh no they haven’t been growing at all, right?  You might disagree with that if you were getting poked by thistle in the strawberries, or found your way through the wall of weeds to get into the peas.  The weeds have been growing, and all of us have been using every tool we have to keep up with them.  Four sets of cultivators, four kinds of hoes, 3 kinds of mowers, a weed whip, pruning shears, and lots of fingers….all have been busy every moment we can free our hands from harvesting, washing, fixing or irrigating — all the other tasks the veggies need at this time of year.

It’s fun to see it all growing so fast, even in our blur of activity the vitality and abundance coming out of the soil just jumps up at us!

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Crop Forecast

The harvest has been exciting, with all the early summer crops coming on last week.  Your share will look pretty similar the next few weeks — peppers are dime-sized, tomatoes are silver-dollar sized, and melons are ping-pong to softball- sized.  Those three will start coming in late July or early August — tomatoes first.

The plant disease we mentioned earlier is black rot on cabbage and broccoli.  We saw it first on turnips in June, and had it confirmed by the Plant Pathology Lab at the U.  That’s a great service the U offers.  It’s a bacterial pathogen that doesn’t take off every year but when conditions are wrong it can spread very fast and stunt and rot crops before they’re harvestable.  There’s no great spray treatment, organic or “conventional” ; we all are advised to follow the same sanitation and cultural guidelines.  And even if one does follow them, it can still wreck a harvest.   So we’ll see what happens.  This is a pathogen we’re just getting to know, but Erin has made herself the Black Rot Queen — studying up the last couple years and drilling us all on how to try to prevent the spread.  It might mean we have ebbs and flows in the supply of cabbage and broccoli, hopefully more flows than ebbs.

This dry weather has been super; of all the variables, it’s nice when the biggest uncontrollable one falls in our favor.  Of course that can change any minute  — as we finish writing there’s a colorful strong storm coming right for us, we’ll see how it unfolds. We’re glad you’re along for the ride with us.

We hope you enjoy the harvest, and that it’s a great part of your summer!

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What’s for U-Pick?

Peas — We weren’t sure what to expect from this variety — our old variety (a hybrid which was unavailable this year) would have put on 6-18″more growth and more peas with it, but this one stopped growing 1-2 weeks ago.  So this will probably be the final week, and they might not be able to hold until the end of the week.  It’ll be a surprise.

Cilantro, mint and lemon balm.  Basil and Parsley will be open for a handful for a limit.  As usual, please pinch the basil above a “V”, to allow the plants to thrive with new stems for an abundant future harvest.  If you are unsure please ask Erin or Ben to show you.

Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.

U-Pick Help:  If at any point in the season you are not physically able to  U-pick due to an injury or any other reason, please let us know.  We have a list of generous folks that are interested in volunteering to pick your U-pick crops for you.  If you’re interested in being on the volunteer list, please let us know too!

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Nuts and Bolts


BLUEBERRIES!  Certified Organic!  Next Door!  Holy Smokes!  Little Hill Berry Farm, Molly McGovern and Aaron Wills, old friends and OH farm members.  U-pick is open this week, next door on 320th Street — sign up here to see the days and hours, and to sign up for their picking updates email list.

Floral Arranging Class with Amanda Eastvold!!   —Join Amanda Eastvold for a floral arranging class on the farm. Amanda has 10 + years of experience with both growing and working with flowers and will help you find your own unique style of floral arranging. In this small group class, you will learn the basics of creating a gorgeous bouquet of local, in season flowers cut on site at Open Hands.  The class will include hands-on work of harvesting, cut flower care, and building a gorgeous bouquet to take home.  The class is Thursday July 13th from 6-7:30pm.  Cost is $15 per person.  Please email us to sign up.  There are still spots available for this wonderful evening.

Bulk Produce for You — Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

You might know that while a lot of the produce we grow goes to you, some of what we grow is sold to wholesale accounts.  We deliver 2-3 times a week to Just Food Co-op, St. Olaf College, Carleton College; to Hy-Vee grocery stores in the metro area, and during the school year, a little to the Northfield Public Schools and a lot to the Minneapolis Public Schools.  And to The Food Group (formerly The Emergency Foodshelf Network) in New Hope, MN — a warehouse serving food shelves around the state, and using donations to purchase fresh produce from local organic farmers to distribute to people in need.  And a handful of other places that we’re developing relationships with, mostly for fall and winter roots and kale.

We like to offer you the same produce beyond what you get in your share, at or very near our wholesale prices, to use for parties, special events, serving guests, or just filling your family’s bellies each week.

To place a bulk order, simply call or email us at least 2 days ahead of the day you’d like to pick it up.  Orders can be picked up at the farm during our regular pickup hours, but it doesn’t have to be your share pickup day.

This week’s selection is : Carrots, Beets, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Summer Squash for $1 / lb.  Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb.


PLEASE BRING U-PICK CONTAINERS!  We’re running low, with all the berry-and pea-picking that’s happened.  Please wash and dry them; yogurt containers are best but clamshells work well too.  This helps us avoid buying yet another plastic supply, and keeps those sturdy containers getting re-used over and over. Thanks!

Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share. We have new colorful plastic bags for you to use and as usual will also have reusable bags for sale in the shareroom. The bags we sell are the same size as the plastic ones we supply for figuring amounts of veggies in your share. Feel free to ask one of us for details.

Sign-In Sheet When you come to pick up your share, please sign the sign-in sheet on the table inside the barn door. This helps us know how many people came each day, so we can be sure to pick more than enough for everybody.

If you split a share, please sign in on the same line as your share partner.  Also there is a “share partner notes” sheet.  Feel free to use this to communicate with your share partner regarding splitting details.

Share Pickup Hours Monday, Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Anna, Bisharo, Jaime, Paul, Ray and Sahara (with Zach joining us later on)

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Quick and Spicy Ginger-Peanut Noodles with Cucumbers and Tat Soi

(Serves 4-6)

From Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton

Ingredients needed:

-¼ cup toasted sesame oil

-¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

-¼ cup smooth peanut butter

-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

-1 tablespoon rice vinegar

-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

-2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

-1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic paste

-kosher salt

-½ pound whole-grain or whole-wheat thin spaghetti or angel hair

-3 to 4 cups tat soi leaves (or other baby Asian greens, such as mizuna por mustard), washed and dried

-1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut crosswise, thinly (about 1⅓ cups)

In a food processor, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, maple syrup, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and chili-paste. Process until well mixed and smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. It will be emulsified but fairly liquidy. Refrigerate the dressing if not using right away.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water, following the package directions. Drain-but don’t rinse-the pasta  and let it sit in the strainer, tossing occasionally, until it’s no longer hot and wet, 15 to 20 minutes. It should be bouncy and a bit sticky.

Put the pasta in a mixing bowl and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Add most of the greens and all of the cucumbers. Drizzle with about 7-8 tablespoons of the dressing and mix well. Taste and add more dressing if necessary. Serve at room temperature, garnished with the remaining greens.

Zucchini and Corn Pancakes with Greek Yogurt and Honey (Makes 12 Pancakes)

From Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton

Ingredients needed:

-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for frying

-1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying

-1½ cups small diced zucchini or pattypan squash (1 medium-small zucchini, or about 7 ounces)

-kosher salt

-1¼ cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears)

-½ cup sliced fresh scallions (white and light green parts)

-½ teaspoon minced fresh serrano peppers

-freshly ground black pepper

-2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

-2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives

-½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

-½ cup cornmeal

-2 teaspoons sugar

-½ teaspoon baking powder

-1 large egg, beaten

-⅔ cup whole milk

-2 tablespoons plain thick, Greek yogurt or sour cream, plus more for serving

-honey, preferably local, for serving

In a medium (10 inch) heavy, nonstick, ovenproof skillet, heat ½ tablespoon of the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and the ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini are shrunken a bit and starting to brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Add another ½ tablespoon butter, the corn, scallions, serranos, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn kernels are glistening and some are slightly shrunken, 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, season the veggies with black pepper, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (20 to 25 minutes). Stir in the parsley and chives.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter (in the microwave or on the stovetop) and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, yogurt, and the melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture, whisking until just combined. Combine the batter with the vegetable herb mixture and stir well. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes.

In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat about ½ tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, use a 1/4 -cup measure to scoop batter into the pan, forming 3 to 4 pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the pancakes are golden brown on the bottom (you will see a lot of bubbles on top), then flip. Cook for 1 minute more. (The bottom will brown more quickly.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in a low (200 degree F) oven, if desired. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding butter and oil as necessary, and turning the heat down as necessary.

Serve warm with dollops of Greek yogurt and a generous drizzle of honey.

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